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Gamer Roulette: The Early Bird Gets The Limited Edition

Eric Parra |
April 14, 2012 | 12:23 p.m. PDT

Staff Columnist

Kanto to Hyrule, Mobius to Santa Destroy, Planet Reach to Little Big Planet, Cinema Student, Screenwriter, and all around gamer, Eric Parra is a bad enough dude to bring you your weekly fix on relative gaming. Whether it’s reviews, previews, or FAQs, matters that are professional or just personal, make sure you check Neon Tommy every week for all sorts of interesting tidbits in the world of video games. And remember, it’s dangerous to go alone.

You know what would go really well with that new game you want? A hat. Or maybe some night vision goggles. Or better yet, a leather jacket. After all, nothing puts you into an experience more than looking and feeling like the characters you play as. So you better put some money down to get that game early, or you might miss your chance.

How much of a fan are you, punk? (Capcom)
How much of a fan are you, punk? (Capcom)

My thoughts on pre-ordering a game are that it’s hardly ever useful because there’s always a surplus of games to buy. That didn’t used to be the case, but now it definitely seems to be. Of course, I haven’t checked the statistics, but maybe pre-orders are the reason there’s a surplus? 

But then there’s this other thing about pre-orders. *SPECIAL LIMITED COLLECTOR’S ULTIMATE EDITION*.  If you pre-order a game nowadays, you’re likely to get a special bonus: an artbook, a model toy or figure, maybe even some downloadable content for free (or an extra $10 pre-release bonus for Capcom).  In fact, I only pre-order a game once I know there’s a good enough incentive to go with it. 

In a sense, pre-orders are like DLC. They add to the experience, and you usually have to pay the company more for something that’snot included with the game itself. 

On the other hand, pre-orders are not necessary to buy in order to enhance gameplay, and if it comes with a special edition exclusive, you technically don’t need it, so it’s on you whether you want to spend the extra money. It does show that you are a fan though, and more than often not, limited edition things are pretty cool. And also limited. That might be why I’m okay with buying them as opposed to certain DLC.

On the other other hand, some pre-orders are kind of crazy.  

Take for instance, the latest and greatest “Platinum” pre-order exclusive for the yet to be released Resident Evil 6, priced roughly around $1,300 (or 105,000 yen). And what exactly is in this thousand dollar game package? Well, for starters, you get the game itself (a worthy investment), 4 exclusive tablet covers (because whoever buys this is likely to have more than one tablet, I assume), and last but not least, a replica leather jacket that the main character, Leon Kennedy wears in game. Alright, I’m sold.

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough money to drop on such a lavish expenditure, but if I did, I really want that jacket. And the demand is quite clear, seeing as how all sizes aside from small are sold out already (and even those are in low stock).  Whether this jacket is worth the extra $1200 people are down has yet to be revealed, but I’m sure the price will sky rocket either way once it hits ebay.

I won’t deny that I’ve bought games based solely on a “free item” that comes with it. I was not too enthusiastic about Sonic Colors right after Sonic Unleashed, but by golly I would have that free Sonic the Hedgehog hat it came with. And later it turned out the game was not half bad. 

Gears of War 2 even came with a chainsaw-rifle gun (non-lethal) otherwise referred to as a retrolancer (likecool)
Gears of War 2 even came with a chainsaw-rifle gun (non-lethal) otherwise referred to as a retrolancer (likecool)

And while some companies (read: Capcom) will charge heavily for their special bonuses, the other end of the scale has Nintendo, who seems to legitimately enjoy giving their fans enjoyment. One of the often noted “best pre-order gifts” is considered to be Legend of Zelda Wind Waker’s free disc copy of the N64 classic, Ocarina of Time, which was updated to boot. And I didn’t even pre-order their most recent release, Skyward Sword, but still got a free Zelda’s 25th anniversary symphony CD along with the game, which I might add is pretty awesome.

These special pre-order and limited editions come in all shapes and sorts, such as the Call of Duty working night vision goggles (not too stealthy, but then again, they run on AA batteries), Halo’s Master Chief’s life-sized helmet, a miniature arcade cabinet that doubles as a piggy bank from Street Fighter x Tekken, and one of my personal favorites, a carrier bag straight out of Mirror’s Edge.

I’m all for special limited editions, even if they require a pre-order (how else would companies know how many to make?) But this does leave a few questions for the future of gaming. Limited editions have been around longer than pre-order and although they may be marketed much more frequently now, the system for purchasing games is changing. I’ve bought more than my fair share of games online through digital content, and predictions are going out that soon enough buying games in stores will be outdated and no longer existent. How are we supposed to get swag then? I WANT MY JACKET.

Of course, this may be discredited fairly easy by an obvious solution. Games companies could just try selling their extra items separately. But what if they don’t sell? And then why would I need the game at all?

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